Embarrassingly, an off-topic rant

I want to live like the Jetsons or 2001 before I die.
I was hoping for a nitrogen filled refrigerator/storage room, with a
robotic arm that accepts items for storage through an air-lock with a digital camera, so you can see images of stored items. Perhaps a microwave with a back door into the storage room, so that the arm can retrieve and cook a Weight Watchers meal for you, automatically, and keep track of all your calories.
But the problem with this is that it will break, and need maintenance, and so building superintendent Henry Orbit would have to come by and fix it.
That is all the fault of the "Apollo" management style, and Gantt and Pert charts, which were all designed for getting things done as quickly as possible to beat the Russians, instead of as well as possible.
Machines should be designed so that all their pieces are automatically replaceable, so that maintenance requires no human intervention. You can still plan in obsolescence, and have the machine require regular part replacements to make money for the manufacturer without frustrating the customer with time-consuming repair calls.
Where is there a place on the net where people are contributing 3D renderings and links to products that would build a Jetsons-like community?
All the links I find on the net about Jetsons-like communities are all about "smart" homes, that are "wired" to the internet, or which have fancy audio or video distribution systems.
But this is only a small part of the future of the Jetsons; it is easy to move electrons around on screens and speakers. Where are the robotics in today's smart homes?
The Roomba is a small start, but it does not scrub my bathtub or sink.
I want the problem of trash in my house handled with underground pneumatic tubes that spread throughout my community.
I want a centralized underground food/package delivery system throughout my community that delivers things right up into my nitrogen filled refrigerator/storage room (sort of like an airport baggage handling system).
I want beds that slowly incline and deposit me on the floor in the morning.
I want conveyer belts from room to room in my house.
I want a bathroom scale and an EKG and a treadmill connected to the computer behind my bathroom mirror that would tell me how healthy I am today.
Before outsourcing, maybe a big American tech company could have built a 21st century company town as a perk/corral for it's employees (see AGI in Fortune's list of 100 Best Smal Companies to work for - what's STK based on, anyway? Performer? Or does it just call OpenGL directly?).
But now, big American tech companies can set up literal corrals for employees, chickens, roosters, livestock and computer terminals in foreign lands for a fraction of the price.
Have I cross-posted to the wrong newsgroups?
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wrote:

I recall the IBM PS/2 models could be taken apart and some things like the hard disk replaced without using any tools, even a screwdriver. No doubt things can be made for easy disassembly and reassembly by machine. OTOH, one of the ultimate goals of robotics is to be able to do physical/mechanical things at least as well as people do them. Making things for automated maintenance would be a stop-gap measure while on the way to the ultimate goal.

Perhaps some company(ies) is doing something like this with an eye toward selling the technology at a profit. Also, I think nanotechnology and the general "transhumanism movement" tie in here.

And fold up into the wall, so it's not taking up so much floor space 16 hours a day.

I'm not that lazy, I can even go up and down stairs.

Get a Polar HRM watch to record your heart rate every five seconds for 21 hours at a time. You can tell a lot from that.

There's the novel "Oath of Fealthy" (Niven and Pournelle), which has a whole city in a huge cube building approximately a mile on a side.

I think it's fine here (I only see comp.robotics.misc in the newsgroups header), but it might also be good on rec.arts.sf.science.
----- http://mindspring.com/~benbradley
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Ben Bradley wrote:

I like it. But it can't weigh me, or count my steps/measure my distance.

Yes, I've read that. But can I have it filled with families that would rather watch "Donald in MathMagic Land", "Our Friend the Atom" and the "Social Guidance" films from the Prelinger Archive than WWF wrestling and "The Simpsons"?

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Midlife Crisis wrote:

http://www.ecu.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/new/repair.htm
http://www.ecu.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk /
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Hmmm. That seems nice, but far off.
7 wrote:

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7 wrote:

Be careful with this guy. The general consensus is that this website is a scam. Googling for "modular robotics" provides sources of infinitely more respectable and realistic implementations.
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Yes. I take on many large (personal) projects by just chipping away at them. Because I'm not taking anybody's money for them, I can do them to the best of my abilities (which frankly isn't that good, but anyway...) and not worry about scheduling. Every so often I wonder how great everything would be if all of humanity would start taking that approach. Just think of the great things we could do if we had a 100yr+ timeline!
The problem is we don't have a shared vision. I've identified greed as one of the main impediments to achieving a shared vision. The greediest often work the hardest, but only on their own vision. I have no clue how to solve that problem.
However, we can have pockets, small societies of people with similar personalities that share a vision. All the stuff you suggested is stuff I've wished for, too. Just this evening I was telling my wife that it's not so far away that we'll have tiny helicopters with brushes on the rotors which sweep our ceilings. She said she wanted something to clean the walls. (My children have managed to put footprints on the walls above our heads. She's right about her priorities.) A wall cleaning robot can't be that far off, can it?
I don't want a bed that tilts me onto the floor. I want a crane that comes and picks me up, carries me to the shower, and erects me slowly under exactly the right temperature of water. I suppose the shower could come to me, but that will involve a new kind of bed.
I want my hedge trimmed to whatever shape I desire, and my flowers watered and fertilized exactly as they need to be, and weeds pulled before they have a chance to grow.
I want my doors and windows to close and open by reading my mind. My clothes should be handed to me in the morning, because I can't see to find matching socks, and I don't have fashion sense.
I don't want to pay for channels I'll never watch. I want one telephone that works everywhere, all of the time. I want one card in my wallet, for everything. I want 100% privacy, and 100% security. I want free access to all human knowledge. I don't want to ever have to sweat.
That fractal robot stuff seems to be an important approach to explore. I hope there are plenty of researches trying this stuff, and nano- and bio-tech, too, because eventually something's going to stick. In the meantime, the rest of us can get on with the work of building little machines to meet the sensible needs (like cleaning and maintenance), so we can figure out what really helps and what's overkill. Over the long term those needs will be met in more and more refined ways, and a new infrastructure will evolve. We just have to get on with it.
- Owen -
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Owen Lawrence wrote:

Not just that we don't have a shared vision, we don't share the RIGHT vision. It's not good enough if we all shared some stupid vision.

You can get electronic shower heads that will remember your favorite water temperature, but they don't talk to your computer, so you can't program them remotely.
If your bed adjoined your shower, it could tilt you into it, so you wouldn't need a crane.

A hedge trimmer on an articulated robot arm could do your hedges; a hydroponic or drip fed garden would eliminate the weeds.

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They make those, they are for geriatrics, but I'm sure you can order yourself one.

Tell me about it. Walking 10 feet is such a waste of time. You could be sitting down eating pork rinds during those few precious seconds of excersize.

If your food is being delivered and cooked for you and you aren't taking out the trash, getting out of bed under your own power, or even walking around your own home, I can tell you how healthy you are in an instant.

Well, you should have started with alt.iamalazyass.wholivesinadreamworld. But I guess some of the things you discussed are relevant here.
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Ryan McCormack wrote:

Thank you for that. I haven't laughed that hard in a while. Any you make a good point. Only the foolish would use (abuse?) modern technology to solve problems that don't exist.
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"Chris S." wrote:

You've lost your sense of wonder and fun (if you ever had it as a kid). That same sentiment could be applied to the efforts of Rutan, Carmack, Bezos and Musk. I hope there are enough people who thought like I do as kids, and who are ready to go back to it as adults.
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Midlife Crisis wrote:

My point was that Jetson's-like home automation isn't the answer to all your problems and will most likely be the cause of a few. If the history of engineering tells us anything, for every problem that technology solves, it creates another one. In the US, food is now relatively plentiful, yet now many people are obese and suffer from heart disease. Automobiles make distant personal travel feasible, yet destroy atmospheric conditions in major metropolitan areas. The mere application of our technologies has allowed us to safe guard our population, but now many nations are hopelessly overpopulated and are desperately seeking means to curb their population growth. This doesn't mean that technology is bad, just that we must exercise caution in our research and application and be prepared for bumps along the way.
So yes, perhaps I have lost my sense of wonder. But I'd prefer wisdom over wonder any day.
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But WHY? It's because of a knee jerk hatred of large opulent vehicles. If they were hydrogen powered, what possible downside could there be to EVERYONE having a Hummer? They are large and safe, and they look cool too.
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Because they are too DAMN BIG for personal transportation. Our roads, parking lots and garages are not sized for such a large vehicle to be used for normal transportation.
The resources consumed in the manufacture and eventual disposal of one Hummer could be used for two (or more) reasonable sized vehicles.
From personal observation I can say that most Hummer drivers are not able to properly handle such a mammoth vehicle.

Large does NOT equal safe. Many SUV type vehicles are not as safe for the occupants as a standard sedan due to their propensity to roll over in extreme driving conditions like swerves or blow outs. While the Hummer is not as prone to roll over due to it's extreme width as other SUV's it's height and limited driver visibility introduce other hazards to it's occupants and others sharing the road.
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Lewis Gardner wrote:

Many large SUVs are, in fact, illegal on many residential streets (gross vehicle weight* over 6000lbs). (gvw != curb weight).
And if you hadn't really notices, gas is getting scarcer and more in demand.
Right now we face wood shortages (all going to iraq - a 2x6 is over twice the price is was 2 years ago. The lumber for a nearby house that cost $50k now costs $112k).
Concrete and oil shortages. I group these because of a HUGE and NEW demand from china and india (two rather large chunks of asia).
I travel in Japan, Indonesia and through Europe. I don't see a ton of HUGE cars there. In fact, I see things like the Smart car (swatch + merceded (www.smart.com) as the smallest of lots of decent cars.
If americans can get over this perception that every vehicle they own MUST be able to carry a load of lumber and a half a soccer team, then perhaps our general quality of life can go up.
Most 2nd cars get less than 30miles/week put on them.
Imagine going into town and having abundant parking, because it's not filled with Navigators (yeah, those must be big in the off road world).
Cities and Valleys with 30mpg cars have less pollution.
Stuff we can and should be doing NOW? Your city/town should make most of the city owned cars alternative fuel. LNG, hybrid, 100% electric (ZEV), etc. Trucks/busses should use 20-25% biodeisel.
Why? Because as a city with purchasing power and some infrastructure, they can afford to lead and do it on a scale that will work. They own their own diesel tanks. And they can put alternative mixes in.
All these schools and muni buildings which are ALWAYS struggling for budget are fairly permanent. Same tenant's been in my school since 1890. Run a bond and put solar panels on them. Barring federal grants or other incentives, it will STILL pay for itself in 12 years or so. After that, ITS FREE!
A jail in the bay area put up a HUGE solar panel system. http://www.powerlight.com/case-studies/alameda_cty.shtml guaranteed for 20 years, expected life: 25-30 years. In 25 years, it WILL SAVE $15,000,000.
There's you're jetsons. Every city building make it's own power. We don't need to build tons more power plants because we have dozens of them scattered around the city, generating like heck during the peak hours.
But you go buy your hummer. You won't park it in the garage, cause it's filled with your nintendos and old playstations and bikes you'll never use (cause you drive a hummer and your an obese american). And live your lifestyle.
Me? I have a computer than can turn on the lights when I walk into a room, a button to turn on the DVD and TV and dim the lights. And my power bill is $0.
Had the builders just left $100 of copper pipe from the utility room to the roof, flashed and just capped off, I'd have free hot water too, for under $2000 of panel. As it stands, it would be another $1000 or more for plumbing and routing the pipes.
Jetson's starts with building the buildings capable of being smart. And insulated. And not outstandingly ugly (or "different").
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I hadn't really given this any thought prior to your post, Chuck, but now you've got my curiosity piqued. Which SUV's weigh more than 6,000 lbs?

My impression is that there is plenty of gas. The only thing that's changed since Bush took office is that the price has increased 50% or more.

That I had noticed.

Concrete, yes. Soaring oil prices? That's another ...er, benefit of having an oilman in the white house.

I like my Camry because it's small and cheap on gas, but I'd like to have a Hummer anyway. The wife wants a school bus. :^)

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Robert L. Bass wrote:

For the next few years there will be "plenty" of gas. After that it gets scary: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/3777413.stm http://www.hubbertpeak.com /
Some interesting statements by the real "oilman in the white house" be can be found here: http://www.peakoil.net//Publications/Cheney_PeakOil_FCD.pdf
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For us in the U.S. anyway, there is no need to worry about a sharp transision. It will just mean the elimination of any restrictions on drilling; there will be many offshore platforms off the coasts where before they were banned. BFD.
And also, they will eventually find the only right way to boost production from Iraq.
Lewis Gardner wrote:

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Midlife Crisis wrote:

It won't be sharp but oil is a finite resource and it will get to be MUCH more expensive.

DREAM ON.
Obviously you live in a fantasy...
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Robert L. Bass wrote:

http://www.slate.com/id/2104755 / | It turns out every big SUV and pickup is too heavy for my street. | Here's just a sampling: The Chevy Suburban and Tahoe, the Range Rover, | the GMC Yukon, the Toyota Land Cruiser and Sequoia, the | Lincoln Navigator, the Mercedes M Class, the Porsche Cayenne S, | and the Dodge Ram 1500 pickup (with optional Hemi). | What about the Hummer, you ask? Hasta la vista, baby!
google finds me an audio version, for the lazy of reading: http://www.npr.org/rundowns/segment.php?wfId818852
and google again: http://www.google.com/search?q=slate+suv+6000

Yes, the oil barrons have gotten the white house. But at the same time, China and India have emerged into highly industrialized states. In the gas shortages of the 70s, the chinese were not all striving to each have their own cars. Repeat this around the world. Oh, and large sources of oil HAVE dried up. Shell(?) took a hit when they admitted that field's they'd been pumping for years were less productive that previously.

And she can. Esp if she hauls around 50 kids.
I ride a motorcycle on a 60 mile per day commute and I'm regularly appalled at the number of 16MPG HUGE trucks and cars with 1 person in it (usually on a cell phone too. And sitting in the leftmost lane with people trying to get around them. We must teach people to be EMBARRASSED that people are passing them on the right. "oh my, I didn't realize. My mistake. I'll get right over.")
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